The Strategy and Inter-party Committee set up by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to scout for possible political alliance with other political groups towards 2019 said it is not aware of PDP’s involvement in the formation of the proposed mega political party.
The committee, which is headed by former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, however, said its report would be ready by end of January 2017 for submission to the leadership of the party.
The 115- member committee, which met yesterday to receive reports from its 11-syndicate committees, denied working towards changing the name of the party. Out of the 11-syndicate committees, the political re-alignment committee, headed by former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, attracted much debate. A source said there were divergent views by the members of what the future of the party would be.
According to the source, some members were concerned about what would become of the identity of the party if it decides to form alliance with other political parties. “There are suggestions that we should woo back our members who joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). Some of them are eager to come back. In fact, about four of them have indicated interest to return,” he disclosed. There have been various reports in the media that PDP is teeming up with some aggrieved members of the APC to form mega political party to wrest power from the APC.
The Chairman PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, had denied this in a statement two weeks ago. Some members of the Gana committee also want the party to make a categorical statement about this.
Gana, who briefed the media after the meeting, said the committee was not aware of PDP’s involvement with any political groups to form a mega party. “All we can say is that the party wants to relate with lovers of democracy in all the parties. We have a syndicate committee working on this chaired by former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu.
They are to give us the guidelines for any re-alignment plan and the number of parties that are willing to join us. “Our engagement will be based on principle, cleared guidelines. But that does not mean to degenerate to what is happening to the ruling party. “PDP wants solid and united party. PDP is the only party that can be found in every ward, and it is the only party that has not changed its name, and we are not going to change the name of our party,” he emphasised.
He said the time has not reached for him to divulge the recommendations of the Mantu sub-committee, as it would still be passed to the leadership of the party to make final decision.
According to him, the committee will meet again mid-January to receive the final reports from the syndicate committees before compiling the final report that will be submitted to the National Caretaker Committee by end of January. A source, however, disclosed that Gana committee might recommend a slight modification in the name of the party.
According to him, “The position of the committee is to harmonise with other parties so that we can form another party. Ali Sheriff wants one-party state.” This position had ran counter with PDP’s founding fathers who insisted that the name should not be changed because of its peculiarity. The BoT Chairman described as ridiculous for anybody “to think that (PDP) would abandon a well organised party like the PDP and join another party.
There is nothing wrong with the PDP, except for some characters within the party.” But the source who promised to give details of involvement of some aggrieved APC members in the formation of the mega party, said some PDP founding fathers had already bought into the idea of a changing the name of the party.
The source said the present problem is the PDP founding fathers who had insisted that the name should not be changed. It was gathered that the fear of losing some assets to the rival faction is one of the reasons most members do not want the party to change its name.
If PDP decides to change its name, it will be compelled to return the Certificate of Registration to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other documents with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), if it decides to drop its original name. A member of the Ali Modu Sheriff faction, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, last week said PDP “will not submit its certificate to INEC. “We are not going to allow our party to die.
We, therefore, will not submit our registration certificate to INEC in order to form another party,” Ojoughoh said. PDP leaders feared that the Sheriff faction will lay claim to the party’s assets once Makarfi faction agrees to abandon its original name to register a new political party.
Apart from the Watata Plaza, the party’s temporary National Secretariat at Wuse Zone 5, PDP has an uncompleted 12-storey permanent secretariat at the Central Business District as well as secretariat in the 36 states of the country and Abuja the Federal Capital Territory. There is also the Legacy House at Wuse II, which the party uses as its Presidential Campaign headquarters.
But some other members of the party want an entirely new name because of the damage done to the image of the party by the APC-led Federal Government’s anti-corruption fight. A former national officer of the party, Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo, who had wanted formation of a new political party, observed that even if the leaders opt for realignment, the asset of PDP would still be a subject of litigation.
“We are not saying that the assets should be left for Ali Modu Sheriff. You cannot say because of assets, you lose human assets. People will not remain continuously where crisis is brewing.
So there is need for the committee set up to do a good job as quick as possible,” he advised. Jalo admitted that PDP has a bright future if the right thing is done, adding that “either a cosmetic change will be made to give a room for the party to win election or a merger with other political parties.”